When trying to control your risk of heart disease, one thing that you have immediate control over is your diet. You may not have control over your genetics, but one thing you can do right now is heart proof your diet and reap the rewards of living sensibly and healthy.
An eating plan that is heart healthy is one that consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy products, fish, poultry and lean meats. That sounds simple enough, but knowing which types of foods, fats and grains in what proportions can be a bit of information to digest.
When it comes to fruits and veggies the recommendation is five or more servings a day. It is best to stick with the whole varieties of fruits and veggies and stay away from the canned varieties. The process of canning depletes vegetables of their nutrition and you don’t want that. Canned fruit tends to have extra sugar added. Sugar is natural in fruit and adding to it gives you too much of a good thing. If you do choose canned fruit, try to stick with the kind that is sweetened with fruit juice.
Whole grains are an important part of a heart healthy diet. Remember the more processed a grain is the less nutritious it is. Stick with foods as close as possible to their original source. Processed flours and grains do not add anything to the diet but increase your blood glucose levels. If something says on the package that it is enriched with whole grains that means that it is not a whole grain. Read the packaging carefully.
Low fat or fat free dairy products are an important addition to your heart healthy diet. Stick with the low fat varieties of dairy products, but when it comes to fish go for the fatty kinds. The fat in fish is the kind of fat we want in our heart healthy diet. You should try for fish two nights a week in your weekly menu. When it comes to meats try the poultry without the skin and your other meats the leanest you can find. That cuts down on the heart unhealthy fat in your diet.
When it comes to the saturated and trans fats in our diet it is important to limit their intake as much as possible. Choose fats that have two grams or less saturated fat per tablespoon. This is a good rule of thumb for limiting the fats in your diet.
While you’re at it, get out and exercise. Thirty minutes of exercise seven days a week. It really doesn’t cost all that much time. You should be trying to balance the amount of calories you are eating with the amount of calories you need for energy. And if you’re trying to lose weight you must burn more calories than you consume. It really is that simple.
Make these simple changes in your diet and you will feel better and have a healthy heart at the same time. Get into some physical activity and not only will you feel better but you will most likely look better too. It’s all up to you.